Stanford University


How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Organizations and Workers?



The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced a substantial portion of the world into quarantines and shelter-in-place orders, leading to a large decline in gross domestic product (GDP) on the order of over $1 trillion per month (Makridis and Hartley, 2020). Moreover, these closures have also led to substantial closures of businesses, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors (Bartik et al., 2020) and an ensuing spike in unemployment insurance claims (Goldsmith-Pinkham and Sojourner, 2020). The rate of workforce and business transformation compresses changes that might have otherwise taken a decade or more into just a few months. Whether these changes persist, which worker and employer characteristics mediate their manifestation, and how policy responses serve to mitigate them are open questions for research of critical importance. We view the COVID-19 pandemic as an exogenous shock to the national and global economy, which is already having an impact on short run work behaviors. For example, recent survey evidence from Gallup shows that 81 percent of U.S. adults report that they have experienced significant disruption as a result of the pandemic. Moreover, roughly 40 percent of employers have frozen their hiring, 33 percent have reduced their hours or shifts, and 13 percent have cut jobs. We will leverage the heterogeneous exposure of firms and areas to the pandemic, allowing us to obtain causal estimates of the pandemic on organizational changes and employee well-being and determine whether these changes become permanent.

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Stanford University